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Check my understanding of voltage please!

  1. Jun 11, 2009 #1
    From what I understand, when a chemical reaction within the battery occurs, the zinc becomes negatively charged and the copper rod becomes positively charged. When an electron flows from "+" to "-", it is resisted by the electric field by the negative terminal. The chemical reaction does "work" (that word makes me cringe) on the charges to move it to the negative terminal. That amount of work per unit of charge is voltage.

    I'm a physics newbie, so please bear with me! :smile:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 12, 2009 #2
    Very good. It does indeed take work to achieve this. Why does the word "work" make you cringe? If I could summarize all of physics in one word, "work" or "energy" would be that word.

    Work/energy is what physics is all about. It manifests itself in 6 domains, electric, magnetic, mechanical, thermal, electromagnetic/photon, & chemical.

    "Work" is the correct way of looking at batteries and any other energy conversion device.

    Claude
     
  4. Jun 12, 2009 #3
    Work isn't really that bad, it's just that work and energy are circular concepts. But I can live with that. :smile:
     
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